Cobble Hill

Cobble Hill’s magical independent bookstore opens Monday

Brooklyn BookBeat

April 28, 2017 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Books Are Magic, which has events planned throughout the summer, sits on the corner of Smith and Butler streets in Cobble Hill. Eagle photo by Scott Enman
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It’s time for Brooklynites to turn the page on the recent closings of BookCourt and the Community Bookstore.

Following both closures, Brooklyn resident and best-selling novelist Emma Straub vowed to right a wrong, to fill a void and to revive a dying breed.

She assured residents in a letter written in December that she would open her own independent bookstore and make the neighborhood “positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come.”

Five months later, Straub made good on her word, as her bookstore “Books Are Magic” is slated to open its doors Monday.

The literature-laden shop, located at 225 Smith St. on the corner of Butler Street, will host its first event on May 9.

The gathering will feature J. Courtney Sullivan and a discussion of her book “Saints for All Occasions.”

The store has events booked through Sept. 26.

“The space that we rented really feels like a bookstore,” Straub told the Brooklyn Eagle in February. “It feels cozy and welcoming, and there are lots of nooks and crannies for people to get lost in. It was really just a matter of finding the space that felt right.”

As for the name, Straub and her husband initially had the idea to open a children’s bookstore, but upon further consideration, decided the neighborhood merited one for all ages.

“We knew that this neighborhood didn’t just need a children’s store, it needs an ‘everybody’ store,” Straub told the Eagle.

“We decided that magic was equal opportunity. Everyone needs magic, and so we thought books are magic for young, old and everyone in between.”

Books Are Magic will preserve and utilize many of the same bookshelves from BookCourt.

The shop announced its opening on Instagram and with signs on its windows.

A photo posted last week on the store’s Instagram account shows Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead signing books.

The store will open two days after Independent Bookstore Day and will feature an initial inventory of roughly 6,000 books

“We want to celebrate the fact that we have a lot of homegrown talent,” Straub told CNN recently. “We are going to have a little sign up by the register that says, ‘Are you a local Brooklyn author? Please identify yourself so that we can make sure to carry your book.'”

She added, “We don’t want a writer who lives around the corner to come in and feel sad because they’re not on the shelf.”

As Stephen King once said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic,” and it’s safe to say Brooklynites will be eager to enter this enchanted space, which has the potential to become a Brooklyn staple like its two predecessors.

For more information and to see a full list of events, go to 

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